RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015
Sunday 27 September
This is the first instalment of three crunch games in pool A as England, Wales and Australia all take each other on over the next three weekends. England came through their opener with an important bonus point victory over Fiji albeit without convincing entirely. Wales, meanwhile, produced a solid five-point performance against Uruguay but to their despair picked up even more injuries. As a consequence, Warren Gatland has had to re-shuffle yet again but crucially Lloyd Williams was able to recover from his knock and Samson Lee is fit enough for the bench. His opposing number, Stuart Lancaster, has made some big selection calls bringing in Farrell, Burgess and Billy Vunipola as he aims for his 12th straight home win against Northern hemisphere opposition.
Historically, Twickenham hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Wales evidenced by just two victories in ten matches this century and seven of the defeats have been by a margin greater than 10 points. Significantly for Gatland’s men is that the two successes have come in their last five visits. Interestingly in all 10 fixtures England have led at half-time, so an England/England (FT/HT) at 1.83 looks decent.
Under Lancaster, England have gone a long way to returning Twickenham back into the fortress it once was. They’ve lost just three of their last 20 home matches and they were against New Zealand and South Africa. Wales were the last Northern hemisphere side to conquer Twickenham, but that was way back in 2012 in Lancaster’s first home game in charge. Since that loss, England have won all nine matches at home in the Six Nations with seven victories by 10 points of more. England have won four of their last five against Six Nations sides at World Cups and have never lost to a team from Europe’s premier international competition in the pool stages.
Wales will look to that victory back in 2012 as a source of inspiration – 12 of the squad members for this fixture were involved that day. Gatland’s side have been impressive away from the home recently and remain unbeaten on the road in 2015, but they lost all four away matches in 2014 by an average score 17-31 (including a defeat in England). Leigh Halfpenny will be sorely missed. He has kicked 32 of Wales’ last 37 points at Twickenham.
We expect England to maintain their home record of not having lost since to a Northern hemisphere side since the Six Nations of 2012 and taking into account Wales’ injuries, in particular kicker Halfpenny’s absence, we are inclined to lean toward the hosts.
- England have won 17 of their last 20 home matches including eight in a row.
- England have not lost at home to a northern Hemisphere side since Feb 2012.
- England have never lost to a Six Nations side during the group stages of a World Cup
- Wales have won twice at Twickenham this century.
- England have led at half-time in their last 10 matches against Wales
- Wales haven’t lost away from home in 2015.